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How local is your local?

Local materials and products

How local is your local?

The term "local” is used to describe manufacturing and distribution based nearby rather than national and/or international.  It takes place close to consumers' homes (i.e. within X kilometers of a consumer) and is transported over shorter distances. The challenge is that there is no universally agreed-upon definition for the geographic component of "local", i.e. how far away from you is “local”?

  • It may indicate a distance within a city boundary, e.g. within the municipal boundary of Cape Town.
  • It may indicate a distance within a neighbouring town boundary, e.g. within the Winelands area of Stellenbosch, Somerset West, Paarl, Franschoek etc.
  • It may indicate a distance within a regional boundary, e.g. within the Overberg or the West Coast.
  • It may indicate a distance within a provincial boundary, e.g. within the Western Cape.

Using locally produced building materials and products shortens transport distances, thereby reducing air pollution and the carbon footprint of air, road or rail freight.  Often, local materials are better suited to climatic conditions and they support the growth of local economies.  It is not always possible to use locally manufactured materials and products, but if it must be sourced elsewhere they should be used selectively and in as small a volume as possible.